Rocky by San Antonio Texas Equine Event Photographers - Genie Images
TA Rodansk+/ is 22 years young this year. He is a purebred Arabian
gelding that has graced many lives. His story is so long and varied
that I could not possibly tell you the whole thing in this short blog.
I will try to hit the high points at least!
He was born in Pilot Point, Texas in 1993 under the expert guidance of breeders, Dick and Christine Reed of Toskhara Arabians.
Dick and Christine were relocated to Leicester, England and decided to
take all of their wonderful Polish Arabian horses with them. Rocky, as
his friends call him, was shipped to England as a youngster with his
mother and many others. As a 2 year old, Rocky was named British
National Champion In-Hand Gelding; a testament to his beauty and the
beginning of a very long and successful show career.
I met Rocky in 1997 when Billy and I relocated to Newmarket, England.
As luck would have it . . . my British instructor from Texas A & I
University, Elizabeth Salmon,
helped me locate a horse training job in England with the Reed's. I
met with the Reed's and instantly knew we were a match. Team Toskhara
established a western training program for Arabian horses; which was a
first of it's kind. At the time in England, western was relatively new
and definitely not a style chosen for Arabian horses. Rocky was the
ambassador for this new program and went on to win countless National
titles among the Arabians and other breeds around the country.
Billy & I moved to Turkey in June 2000 but I flew back for the
British National Championships in July. That year Rocky and I were
named National Champion! When I got down to accept the honor, the
crowds applauded, Rocky whirled around, I fell, and the next thing I
know I was being carted off by stretcher to hospital with a ruptured ACL
wearing my chaps and cowboy hat! (This happens to be the only picture
of me to ever grace the pages of the Arabian Horse World Magazine; me
strapped to a stretcher at the British National Championships- nice!!)
This ordeal is a whole other story on it's own- British hospital, how I
got back to Turkey, the blood clot that followed, and Turkish hospitals.
After our tour in Turkey, the Reed's bestowed the greatest gift ever to
me- Rocky! He was to come back to the USA and be mine. My special boy
got on another plane and came back to his/our home, Texas in 2002. He
then started on a serious show career and more importantly, he taught
many riders many skills. His top show honor in the USA was Reserve
National Champion Western Sidesaddle 17 & under with Hannah Sartori
in 2007. He has won a multitude of ribbons in halter, walk/trot,
western pleasure, sidesaddle, trail, showmanship, and horsemanship. His
last win to date was at the 2014 Region 9 Championships, earning a Top 5
in Trail with Sherry Rosser Carroll.
Sherry Rosser Carroll is Rocky's bff. She has been there for him through
thick and thin. Billy and I had another tour out of country from
2008-2011 and decided that it was best to leave Rocky home here in Texas
this time. Sherry and I thought out a plan that made sense; she would
take over ownership of Rocky because I had no idea where Billy & I
would end up after this tour. It was hard to let him go, but I knew I
was doing the right thing and, more importantly, with the right person.
During my absence, Rocky continued his winning ways in the show ring
and added another discipline to his repertoire, ACTHA trail rides. Rocky enjoyed this time out of the show ring and of course brought home more prizes from these outings!
We did come home from our tour in Italy in 2011 and Rocky was still
going strong at 18 years old! Sherry & I then became "co-parents"
and decided that he would let us know when it was time to head to
pasture for his leisure years . He continued to go and do and win and
even started competing in yet another new division, Western Dressage, and
was winning at that too! Every task put before this horse was
accomplished and accomplished with style. Even when Rocky was . . .
well . . . being Rocky, he always looked beautiful. You see, Rocky has
these moments in which he chooses not to participate quite in the manner
that is described by the rule book; it is humbling. You just have to
laugh and pet him on the neck and assure him that it is okay and he is
still loved. And loved he is; loved by his family and his adoring fans.
His beauty and presence stops many in their tracks . . . I think he
It all went by so furiously; international travel, showing in multiple
disciplines, trail rides, parades, going to an English hunt, and
stunningly carrying our nation's flag at opening ceremonies. He has done
it all and stayed remarkably healthy until last fall. His aches and
pains caught up with him and he needed a PRP Treatment on his
front leg. It has been a lengthy recovery but it seems that now he has
turned the corner. He has little pain when running free as you can see
in the picture above. Riding him will continue to be slow process, but
all in all, he is happy and healthy and enjoying being a horse.
I have many images of Rocky in full regalia doing his thing for a prize,
but I had very few of him in a natural state. Last week, with the help
of many friends- Sherry Rosser Carroll, Kitty Williams Salinas, Katie
Springer, and Joy Brown- we were able to get some wonderful images of
him. He felt great, the spring bluebonnets were in full bloom, and the
weather was stunning; the stars had aligned for us. Thanks to all that
made this photo shoot happen and thanks to the Reeds for letting me a
part of this wonderful horse's life and most of all, thanks to Rocky for
being the most amazing horse that will ever touch my soul.
Genie Images creates speciality images for equines, events, and portraits. Whether it is in the show ring or at the farm, Genie Images effectively captures the moments in life that take your breath away. Jeanne Harford captures everything from horse shows & farm shoots to portraits, events & small weddings.
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